Fanwood Resident, Michelle Shapiro Abraham, Wins The Covenant Award For Excellence In Jewish Education
Current Member and Former Director of Education at Temple Sholom of Scotch Plains-Fanwood Honored in Washington, D.C.
Temple Sholom of Scotch Plains-Fanwood, announced that synagogue member and Fanwood resident Michelle Shapiro Abraham received The Covenant Award for Excellence in Jewish Education at an awards dinner in Washington, D.C., during the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America last month. Ms. Abraham currently serves as the Director of Program Development for the Campaign for Youth Engagement at the Union for Reform Judaism, as well as a consultant for the Foundation for Jewish Camp, and a clinical faculty member in the Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion Executive Master of Arts in Jewish Education Program.
Prior to these positions, Ms. Abraham spent 12 years as the Director of Education at Temple Sholom, where she designed and oversaw educational approaches and programming for nearly 140 students in the religious school and the congregation as a whole. She developed an innovative new approach to family and congregational learning that engages the entire synagogue in the same topics concurrently, thereby fortifying community and cross generationalties.
Sandra Nussenfeld, Past President of Temple Sholom, who nominated Ms. Abraham for the award stated, “The passion, expertise, energy and infectious love of Judaism that Michelle has brought to our religious school and our congregation has kept us united in our sense of community and shared learning.” Ms. Nussenfeld’s award nomination cited several cutting-edge programs that Ms. Abraham created at Temple Sholom such as the trimester system, the Family Track Program where young students participate in family and community centered activities outside of the traditional classroom, the open Hebrew curriculum that allows students to study at their own pace, and the post-Bar/Bat Mitzvah Jewish University program which enables teenagers to continue their Jewish education in a fun, social setting. In addition to her classroom work, Ms. Abraham has written children’s books, including “Shavua Tov! (A Good Week)” and “My Cousin Tamar Lives In Israel.” She also has developed summer camp programs, including Union for Reform Judaism specialty camps such as the Six Points Sports Academy and Six Points Sci Tech Academy.
Ms. Abraham notes “Whether it’s a little girl who is learning to spell with her fingers in sand, or a child who needs us to reimagine Jewish summer camp to meet his interests; whether it’s parents who drifted away from Jewish education and are looking for new approaches to synagogue learning, or teens who left after B’nei Mitzvah and want to reconnect, we need to not only accept these differences, we need to celebrate them!”